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A New Take on Homescreens – Review Geek



Review:
9/10

  • 1 – Absolutely hot waste
  • 2 – Sorta lukewarm waste
  • 3 – Severely flawed design
  • 4 – Some advantages, many disadvantages
  • 5 – Acceptably imperfect
  • 6 – Good enough to buy on sale
  • 7 – Great, but not best in class
  • 8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
  • 9 – Shut up and take my money
  • 10 – Absolute design Nirvana

Price: $ 6 per year

Peter Huber

There are plenty of third-party Android launchers, but most of them have similar beats. They take design cues from Android and offer minor tweaks and features, which is more than fine. But the brand new launcher Niagara aims to be a more substantial shake-up by having a minimalist and easy-to-use one-handed design – and it’s pretty good.

Here’s what we like

  • Excellent design
  • Smart functions
  • test
  • Stylish

And what we don’t

  • Relatively light customization

First impression

When installing Niagara you will immediately notice the differences. Gone is the grid-like home screen design that most Android launchers use, every time you press home now, you’ll be greeted by a large list of all your apps.

Standard Android home screen and Niagara home screen side by side
Default Android launcher on the left; Niagara launch vehicle on the right.

Niagara tries to merge your app drawer and home screen into one unified space, something that would be really gruesome if it wasn’t designed so well. Niagara does this with a few different tricks that you should become familiar with when using the launcher.

Two home screens of Niagara launchers in a collage
Favorites menu on the left; Deeper into the app list on the right.

First of all, the favorites list: this list ignores the otherwise alphabetical sorting method and puts your chosen favorites at the top of your screen. A crucial feature to be sure, it would be far too frustrating to constantly navigate this gigantic list for your most used apps. But even if you need to dive deeper into the list, Niagara makes this as smooth as possible thanks to the quick menu or alphabet list on the right side of your screen (it can be operated on both the left and right, though). edges of your screen).

With this menu, you can instantly jump to a specific letter in the app list with a swipe of your thumb. It takes some getting used to. I’ve accidentally jumped to the wrong letter a number of times, but as you learn the general gestures it should quickly become second nature. You can also swipe an individual app to view notifications or access certain actions.

Thanks to this combination of features, finding the app you need has never been faster. The minimal style of all of this looks fantastic too, which is nice if, like me, you get annoyed by a cluttered home screen.

Niagara Launcher Niagara widget with time, weather and music app information

The Niagara widget at the top of your home screen is also a great addition. In addition to displaying the time, weather and music data, you can tap the widget to see a calendar-like calendar view of your events and reminders. This way you don’t have to constantly open your calendar app.

A deeper dive

Niagara Launcher settings menu

No Android launcher is complete without some customization. So when you dive into the settings menu, what can you expect from Niagara Pro? To be fair, not a lot, at least compared to other launchers out there. If you appreciate fine-tuning everything, Niagara will likely disappoint you, but there are still things worth talking about.

When you check out the Settings menu, it’s neatly divided into two categories: ‘Features’ and ‘Appearance’. In Features, you can do a lot of useful things like add app shortcuts for certain actions (like opening a new tab in Chrome), edit what the Niagara widget displays, enable embedded notifications on the home screen, and in new widgets from other apps.

One of the more interesting features of Niagara is its swipe actions. I already mentioned these, but you can swipe on an app to open a small collection of shortcuts or view notifications. However, you can also add any app you want to this collection as a makeshift app folder. Niagara lacks app folders by default, but I think this is a suitable replacement. You can still save space on the screen and connect certain apps together – like save all your social media apps behind your favorite ones or put the gallery app behind the camera.

Niagara Launcher

When it comes to the ‘Watch’ section, it’s about what you’d expect from an Android launcher; You can set your background, icon pack, preferred icon shape and use custom fonts (with the slick “Niagara Neo” font out of the box). In addition, there are also some smaller functions here, such as hiding the alphabet list on the side of the screen or removing the status bar.

So yes, Niagara isn’t as customizable as some other launchers. But that’s also understandable because of the core design: there just isn’t quite as much room for customization as the stock Android home screen and app drawer layouts. For what it is, I think the customization aspect of Niagara is fine, even if it could be improved in a few minor ways (like being able to set which side of the screen the alphabet list appears on).

Pro versus free

We’ve talked a lot about the launcher’s features so let’s talk very quickly about what you’re actually paying for. Niagara Pro costs $ 6 a year and comes with tons of features to justify that price. Swipes, custom fonts, and the calendar widget are all limited to Pro users, among other smaller features.

There are other launchers that only charge you a one-time payment to access their “Pro” features, which is clearly preferable as opposed to this subscription model – especially for something as integral as your launcher. Still, nothing is too important, so if you are only interested in using the free version, you can do that with no problem.

Should you subscribe?

Niagara Pro is one of the most unique launchers out there, but it has some inherent drawbacks. Your home screen is something you probably interact with several times a day, and using something like Niagara is a big change.

So, is it worth dealing with that? Niagara is optimized to be used with one hand, and it certainly works, but besides that, I don’t think it offers many advantages over standard Android to make the big change worthwhile for most people.

If you constantly switch between a large number of apps, then Niagara is great for you: scrolling through your entire library of apps has never been faster and easier. However, if you only use your phone for a limited number of tasks, I don’t think Niagara offers you much that a more standard Android launcher wouldn’t already provide you.

As someone in the middle of those two groups, I have enjoyed using the Niagara launcher and will probably continue to use it for a while. Niagara Pro executes its core idea very well, the problem is that the core idea will not necessarily appeal to everyone. If you’re interested in this launcher at all, I think it’s worth at least trying the free version to get an idea of ​​which launcher you’d like to use yourself. You should learn pretty quickly whether it’s for you or not, and if you enjoy it in the end, the $ 6 a year Pro price is an easy pill to swallow for all of the launcher’s features.

Review: 9/10

Price: $ 6 per year

Here’s what we like

  • Excellent design
  • Smart functions
  • test
  • Stylish

And what we don’t

  • Relatively light customization




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